During its history, particularly during the mid-1960s, while aircraft production was at a low ebb, Canadair ventured into a number of other fields, including the following
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Antennas: In 1965, Northern Electric awarded Canadair a contract to design, construct and erect two large anntenas. The first was a 9-m (30 ft.)-diameter precision tracking antenna (CL-210) for the Department of Research and Telecommunication establishment at Shirleys Bay, Ontario. The second was a 14-m (45-ft.)-diameter antenna for an earth station for domestic satellite communications (CL-225) at Lac Bouchette, Quebec, 110 km (70 mi.) north of Ottawa. Both antennas performed so well that Canadair was subsequently asked to bid on a number of other antennas but declined because of the high cost of fabrication in an aerospace facility. (photo courtesy Roger Roy)
Air Cushion Vehicle: Between 1964 and 1967, the company designed and built two air cushion vehicles(ACV): The CL-212-1A10 had three engines, two 100-hp Mercury outboards for lift and one 50-hp McCulloch drone engine for propulsion. The CL-212-1B11's two 4740-cm (289-cu-in.) Ford Mustang engines provided both lift and propulsion. The program was terminated when General Dynamics decreed that all future ACV activity would be concentrated at Electric Boat, which was then working on a surface-effect vehicle ship.
Mail Sorter: In January 1959, Canadair re-engineered a prototype automatic mail sorter for the Canada Post Office. The improved machine could sort letters at a rate of seven letters a second. It was installed in the downtown Ottawa post office for a time, however, the high cost of continuing development persuaded the Post Office to modernize using American equipment.
Hydro-Québec Cable Car: In 1965, Canadair designed and built a cable car to travel along Hydro-Quebec's 735,000-volt power line from Montreal to Manicougan, 400 km (250 mi.) northeast of Quebec City. The power line consists of four 2.5-cm (1.0-in.) cables which are kept at a precise distance from one another by cruciform spacers placed every few metres along the line.. The car carried spacers and installers. Where the line crosses the Saguenay River, the cables sag approximately 150 m (500 ft.), so the car had to carry two installers and a load of spacers up and down a 45-degree slopw. Designed and built in just six weeks, the car was powered by four 2-cm (-in.) drill motors.
Waste Treatment Plant: In August 1971, the company funded initial design activity on a small water treatment plant, in co-operation with cole Polytechnique of the Universit de Montral. A pilot plant for treating approximately 230,000 litres (50,000 imp.gal.) of waste daily, was designed, built and installed at the Sainte-Rose, Quebec, sewage treatment plant. Though tests confirmed the feasibility of the concept and a U.S. patent was awarded, funding could not be obtained and the project was cancelled.
The Baby Belt: In 1962, an engineering team designed and built a birth-assist device for St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal. It consisted of an air-tight compression chamber which, when placed across the expectant mother's abdomen, reduced labour pains by means of a vacuum which drew the abdominal muscles during labour contractions. The Canadian Medical Journal reported that 85 per cent of the patients using the so-called "baby-belt" found they had less pain - in most cases amounting to 75 per cent relief, while some felt no pain at all. It is believed the design was sold to a Boston company which marketed it under the trade name Birth Eeze. At about the same time, the experimental department built a hydraulically-powered, rotatable chair for Notre Dame Hospital in Montreal. The chair, which had seven degrees of movement, was used to detect evidence of Menires disease.